President Stands by Herders while Speaker Zeroes in on Miners
The ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) is facing criticism from President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga for mismanaging the budget and causing a $1.7 billion deficit in 2020.
The president singled out the negligence of local administrators in Bayankhongor province and called for the re-population of abandoned soums and remote areas with incentives and subsidies to address rural problems.
Battulga also proposed building an industrial complex in Darkhan to buy animal skin, wool, and cashmere from herders to process and export value-added and finished products.
On the other hand, Parliament Speaker Gombojavyn Zandanshatar, in his opening speech during the Fall legislative session, highlighted the busy and lengthy legislative agenda that includes six legislative pieces on the mineral sector reform.
As part of constitutional reform, the speaker asked lawmakers to make the people true "owners" of the natural resources in the spirit and letter of Article 6 of the new constitution.
The fall agenda includes amendments to the Mineral Law, State and Local Property Law, Environment Protection Law, and new bills on the State Common Property Law, the State-owned Company Law, and the National Wealth Fund Law.
However, it remains unclear how the reforms will be achieved, and to what extent the state would keep its control over major cash cows, such as the copper-molybdenum Erdenet mine, Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, and Rio Tinto's copper-gold-silver Oyu Tolgoi mine.
The speaker noted that "state common property" in Article 6 was the guiding principle in the mineral sector reforms, suggesting that people should be controlling the mineral assets with the state's involvement.
Overall, the proposed rural development and mineral sector reforms have the potential to bring positive change to Mongolia. However, there needs to be a more nuanced analysis of the reforms and how they will be implemented to ensure their effectiveness.
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